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Will Belize Bank get its Money?

In its most recent press release, the Belize Bank Limited stated that it looks forward to the Government settling its $90.6 million dollar debt after what it refereed to as “unnecessary litigation to recover the funds, which at the end of the day were lent from funds deposited with the Belize Bank by Belizean depositors.” The release adds that “Central Bank of Belize would take a very stern view indeed of any licensed bank not seeking to recover such a debt.”  And while the debt has been confirmed by the London Court of International Arbitration, the Privy Council, the courts of the United States, and now the Caribbean Court of Justice it is safe to say that the Belize Bank will continue to demand that the loan be paid, even if the House of Representatives does not approve the appropriation bill.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“It must not be doubted that a court can, in fact, fashion a particular new remedy dealing with breach of constitutional rights suggestion being that if the Minister of Finance is ordered to pay and he doesn’t pay the court can visit the sanction of imprisonment on the Minister of Finance. I don’t think that can happen in this case. First of all this is not a constitutional matter, its not inconceivable that the bank, if it doesn’t get paid, can say while this arose out of a contractual dispute and an arbitration award the fact of non payment constitutes some deprivation of property and therefore can act as a platform for the bank to lodge a constitutional claim in the Supreme Court and that would perhaps open the door to the situation where the question of a coercive order to be made against me might arise, except that our constitution is perhaps a little bit different from the Grenada constitution. Our constitution as in my view the CCJ conceded is saying that you can’t pay money out of the consolidated revenue fund for the satisfaction — let’s particularise it — for the satisfaction of this judgment unless parliament votes it. If parliament doesn’t vote it how can a court say to the Minister of Finance ‘you must still find a way to pay it.’ the court would then be going against the constitution. So in my view, there is not much chance of that happening but if it is to happen well bad back and all I will go to jail.”